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Decision support softwares: What are the benefits of managing data in layers?

With the emergence and regular interpretation of data, farmers can now resort to software systems in order to monitor the performance of laying hens on a daily basis. These tools now make it possible to anticipate, adjust costs, reduce the cost price and increase profits. All this data can be compiled and interpreted via the historical records provided by the software.

Layer data management has two benefits:

  • the daily management of the farm;
  • the overall analysis of the collected data.

Switching from a traditional flock register to a more dynamic dashboard in laying hen

First of all, it is necessary to collect the basic, day to day data registered on the farm. This data can be divided into two categories:

  • Daily data: egg weight, egg laying, mortality, feed consumption, water consumption, max. and minimum temperatures.
  • Weekly data: hen weight, data from the previous week.

Quite often, all this data is compiled in a flock register but it is not exploited to its full potential. The first interest of a data software management lies in the possibility to represent graphically the collected data and to draw meaning from it. Comparison to a reference, or a standard, is then made possible and one can see what tendencies emerge from there. At a glance, the curves in the dashboards can provide farmers with relevant insight on various criteria.

Plotted together, laying rate, egg weight and body weight can provide very meaningful information when the time has come to move on to a new feeding phase.

It is very difficult to perceive these tendencies by consulting a mere flock register. Moreover, with a software system, a flock register is no longer needed as the data can be entered directly into the software.

Exploiting data in layer hens: putting data into perspective to interpret it

Data provides the history and therefore a database keeping track of all the performance of various flocks in different poultry houses. Therefore it is possible to compare the performance of the current flock with all the flocks that have been previously reared in the same building.

We can also compare the flock currently reared in a specific poultry house with those that come from other poultry houses or at a larger scale, we can analyse the performance of this flock at the sector-wide scale of a larger poultry production organisation (if there is one). We can also have a more general perspective on flocks who come from the same hatchery by looking at their performance over several years.

The performance of different hatcheries can also be compared with each other… And a flock’s performance can be assessed in regard of the norms of poultry strain. All this information could be put in perspective by considering it in relation to the national production references for each strain and the national poultry production or different countries could be compared against each other.

Therefore automated data collection can enlarge the fields of investigation in the management of poultry farms. What can be done is to define the required variables/ criteria without too much restriction. These variables shouldn’t be too narrow or limited, because in the long term, we could end up using some which we hadn’t thought of in the beginning.

The good exploitation of data opens the door to the improvement of technical results and production cost. Whatever the size of you flock and your rearing conditions, our experts can help you to optimize your flock depending on your results. Don’t hesitate to contact them!

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